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Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

Garden Gleanings - My limit has been met

Posted Saturday, April 19, 2008, at 9:09 AM

This spring I rested comfortably with my concerns about cabbage loopers and cut worms, but I underestimated the cutworm's tenacity.

I tilled the garden bed several times during winter with assurance that I was destroying most of the cutworms and other insect larvae overwintering in the soil. I used a lightweight non-woven covering to keep the cabbage moth from laying eggs.

BUT, lulled into complacency, I did not check the plants progress as much as I would have if the cover was not on. When I removed the cover after last week's frost I learned that the cutworm had not only survived, but thrived.

Virtually all my direct seeded plants had been mowed down. My idea of using slats of wood to hold down the weeds worked well, but backfired because it targeted my intentional plants to the cutworms. While I am working to seriously impact the cutworm population, I may allow a few more weeds to grow.

I often give larvae a chance to survive by removing them far from the garden and letting nature take its' course, but the cutworm has just graduated to the status of fleas, ticks and Japanese beetles. They are terminated on the spot and I will be aggressively pursuing them at every turn. Enough!

To get back to the lightweight cover, it did accomplish a looper-free cabbage and bok choy, and it protected the plants from any late season frost. In the future however, I will build garden supports to hold the material well above the plants, so I can easily peak in on them and search for my new arch enemy, the cutworm.

Tomorrow(Sunday)I will transplant my tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and artichokes to their final growing spot. I dug their holes yesterday so I would not be working in mud from the rains and will add some compost, bone and blood meal into the bottom to give them an extra shot of fertilizer down by their roots.

Until I get a good handle on this cutworm situation, I will start all my other plants, including flowers inside and transplant when the chances of cutworm damage is reduced. With that in mind, I sifted potting soil last night and filled trays to seed today.

From the goldfish pond comes news or our snapping turtle showing his head yesterday. My how he has grown. I am afraid that this will be Snappy's last season with us, if I let him stay that long.

He arrived about a year and a half ago with another sibling, which I transplanted to our pond, but when Snappy showed up we decided to let him live here for a while. He was too small to bother our fish. He fed at the same time as our fish and never bothered them, so there was peaceful coexistence.

This past fall he disappeared and I thought he had moved on, but yesterday that was proven to be a wrong assumption. He has probably held our frog population down but the time is near for him to move to the pond. That or turtle soup, but we would not have the heart to do that.



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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.